Rental Car ConsOn the downside, and the biggest fear of people considering a rental to purchase, is how was the car driven? While there is no way to know, rental cars are sold now with fewer miles, and most rental cars are driven by people over 25 years of age, it is very expensive for people younger than that. Most people drive reasonably in a rent car, but are often not as careful with food and drinks, but cosmetic issues like this are easily fixed before purchase.
Rental Car RepairsRent car companies generally repair exterior dents and dings very quickly since they charge the person renting the car for damage. Some rental companies do their own minor body repairs, and these will not show up on a vehicle history report. More severe damage is usually billed to an insurance company, which will be listed on a history report.
Consider OptionsOne thing to look for in a former rental is standard equipment and options. To save money, rental companies often special order cars and cut out options like OnStar and XM radio. Five years ago or so, Enterprise Rent-a-car was busted for deleting side airbags in some of the cars they rented and ultimately sold.
Final ThoughtsAll in all, I have no problems with former rental cars under the right circumstances. Rent car companies are a huge supply source to the used car industry. You should always double check and see how much of the factory warranty is remaining, and make no assumptions. One good example is Hyundai and Kia taut the 10-year/100,000 mile warranty, but if you buy one used, it is only 6-year/60,000 miles.
Here is the big caveat for me when looking at a former rent car: buy it from a new car dealer and only if it is factory certified. Some rent car companies sell cars direct to the public, but I do not recommend this. I think there is risk of the rent car company hiding things. A factory certified car generally has a checklist of 150 to 180 items that must be gone over by a factory certified technician. You generally get a warranty included for up to 100,000 miles or more. For me, the process of a former rental passing the certified inspection is critical.
As with any used car purchase, be careful, do your homework, and again, be sure to see a vehicle history report before pulling the trigger.